Lenten Devotions in the Home (Guest: Suzan Sammons)

February 02, 2024 00:51:03
Lenten Devotions in the Home (Guest: Suzan Sammons)
Crisis Point
Lenten Devotions in the Home (Guest: Suzan Sammons)

Feb 02 2024 | 00:51:03

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Hosted By

Eric Sammons

Show Notes

Eric Sammons is joined by his wife Suzan to talk about growing up as a cradle Catholic, how they met, and her new book on Lent.
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Episode Transcript

[00:00:10] Speaker A: You know how in 1980 sitcoms they had very special episodes? Well, tonight we have a very special episode. I'm joined by my wife in studio, my first ever guest in studio, joined by my wife, Suzanne again. And she's going to talk about growing up as a cradle Catholic, how she got so lucky in finding a spouse, and also about her new book, the Stations of the Cross in slow motion, which we're going to talk about a bit as well. Before we get started, I just want to encourage people to smash that, like, button to subscribe to the channel. Don't hit the notify button because you have a life and you don't want your phone telling you what to do. Also, you can follow us on social media at Crisis Mag, and you can also subscribe to our email channel, our email newsletter, which just go to crisismagazine.com and we'll ask you for your email address. And you can get our articles to your inbox every single day. Okay, so, special episode, we have a guest, my wife, Suzanne. I feel kind of dorky giving a bio, so I probably won't. But she is the author, like I said, of stations of the cross in slow motion, which we're going to talk about in a little bit. It's a daily devotion for lint. Welcome to the program. [00:01:34] Speaker B: Thank you. It's good to be here in my own house. [00:01:40] Speaker A: That's right. Exactly. So we had to do a little bit of a tech set up here to get us both doing this. Hopefully everything goes well. Our daughter, who is the videographer, is not here, so she couldn't help us make sure everything's okay. But hopefully it'll go well. So why don't we get started and ask how did being married to me prepare you to write a book on penance and Lent? Okay, that's not really my first question. [00:02:09] Speaker B: I live with. [00:02:12] Speaker A: Yes, she does have to live with it. No, seriously, why don't you tell us a little bit about growing up Catholics? You're a cradle Catholic. I'm a convert. Why don't you talk a little bit about growing up Catholic? Like what your catholic life was like growing up? [00:02:28] Speaker B: Sure. I think I was very fortunate the way I grew up. My parish was about a block and a half from my house. We could walk to mass. Walk to daily mass. I walked to school. I went to the catholic school. This was the early eighty s. And I think that even though by then catechesis was not good, there were still a lot of good elements of the culture, of the catholic culture left for me. At that time. So I feel fortunate for that. My parents were devoted Catholics, and obviously that was a huge influence. I think that parents of that generation felt the schools were teaching the faith, and they probably had too much trust that that was happening. So I really ended up learning my faith as an adult more so than as a child. It wasn't really taught in the classroom. [00:03:32] Speaker A: This is the, which are considered kind of a dark time for the catholic church. I mean, parishes you went to were, they felt banners and all the things kind of that people say they were back then. [00:03:45] Speaker B: I don't think we exactly had a lot of felt banners. The parish I grew up in still had the communion rail. And I remember the sister who taught me religion in the upper grade, she said, well, we still have that communion rail because the donors are still alive, but as soon as those donors are gone, we're going to get rid of that communion rail. And she was right. But that didn't happen until much later. So we still had a communion rail. We had a pastor who loved us kids, loved the families, and was at our parish for many years and was truly a father figure. So some good, some bad. [00:04:31] Speaker A: So now we're going to talk about your book in a little bit about Lent. But it, like, as a cradle, Catholic growing up. See, this is all new to me. I mean, not, I kind of know these stories, but I mean new in the sense that I didn't grow up Catholic in the, didn't become Catholic till the 90s. So I hear these stories. And so what was lent like? Were there Lenten practices at your parish, in your home? What did you guys do for lint? [00:04:54] Speaker B: Our Lenten practices were really centered around the parish. So we had the fish fries. We had the fish fries. It was a time for the community to come together and do something together, provide something together. But most of all, we had the stations of the cross. That was the main Lenten practice for our parish and probably for my family. Other than the typical, we each give something up for Lent. So we had the stations of the cross every Friday afternoon right after school let out. You would go right to the Stations of the cross. Of course, it was optional, but really almost everybody went. Almost all the students went. And then after dinner, usually on those Friday evenings of Lent, my father would walk back to church for the Stations of the cross, and I would often go with him. So sometimes I was going to the stations twice on a Lenten Friday. So that really left a mark on. [00:05:58] Speaker A: So. So your parents obviously were good practicing Catholics and wonderful you. So you graduate from high school, you go off to college, which is where we end up meeting Miami University in Ohio. And so what would you say? How serious were you about your, like, did you practice? Did you consider yourself Catholic? Did you ever fall away when you went off to college? Kind of. Where were you? [00:06:28] Speaker B: I didn't know we were going to get into this. Let's see. [00:06:33] Speaker A: People think I would have prepared you, but no, I'm doing, like, blitzkriek here. [00:06:39] Speaker B: So as a freshman in college, I knew that I wanted to get involved in some activities that would help me feel connected to the university, I guess, or just feel like I was doing something besides going to classes. And the thing that really called to me was the pro life group. So I immediately got involved in the pro life group. I hadn't done that kind of work before, but it really jumped out at me. So got involved in the pro life group, and that was very formative, and it was very faith building in one sense, but without a foundation of catechesis from childhood, when suffering came into my life, I still struggled. And I really had a brief time where I wasn't practicing well during my junior year. So. Boy, I can't remember the question now. I'm so flustered. What's the question? [00:07:48] Speaker A: What kind of catholic were you when you went off to college? Because we met, and we will get into that in a minute. This is what the people want to know. This is what the people want to know. So, no, I mean, you answered the question, like, basically, did you practice your faith? Always. Was there any time that you had left your faith? Because a lot of people who grew up in the. Because catholics left the church, and some fortunately came back. But you hear this all the time, people telling stories like how they grew up Catholic, but then they left church and they came back, they'reverts or whatever you hear too many stories about. They just leave and they never come back. So I just kind of want to get a sense of, did that ever happen to you after you left? [00:08:32] Speaker B: I don't think it's a very dramatic story because it was a brief time for me when I was really questioning things. I just went through that struggle for kind of a brief time. And luckily, because of the pro life movement, I had good catholic friends that were praying for me and that stayed close to me. And I had this protestant friend who just didn't realize what I was going through because he was a little dense. And so he invited me to a catholic prayer group that he was going to. [00:09:05] Speaker A: Is that right? Did I invite you. [00:09:06] Speaker B: You invited me? Yeah. [00:09:08] Speaker A: Oh, that's right. I did. [00:09:09] Speaker B: All the catholics were like, oh, you invited Suzanne. [00:09:13] Speaker A: I know. I was clueless because as the Protestant hanging out with the catholics, I didn't know the levels or whatever of Catholics. Like, okay, certain catholics would go to. [00:09:23] Speaker B: A prayer group, had not leveled up. [00:09:24] Speaker A: You had not leveled up, and I just invited you kind of naively. Well, that's awesome. Good for me. So you start going to the prayer group. That's right. Is that junior year? Yeah, junior year. Right. Okay. Yes. So good for me. [00:09:43] Speaker B: Bottom line. [00:09:43] Speaker A: Bottom line, that's what matters here. So we met sophomore year, and we have a very romantic first meeting. [00:09:51] Speaker B: I knew you would bring this up. [00:09:52] Speaker A: Yes. Okay. So I was a geek. I was systems analysis major. My best friend, who was female, was my computer named Betsy. And so I was at my computer one day when my roommate, who ended up being the sponsor, brought me into the catholic church, is now actually the godfather, one of our children. He brought Suzanne to the dorm. They were in the pro life group together. And so he introduced Suzanne, said, oh, this is my friend Suzanne. This is my roommate, Eric. And literally, I go like this. I'm typing the computer. I said, hey. And I look back down and kept on the computer. So that was my way to woo the ladies. That was my move. Yeah, so don't use that, guys. Young men who are thinking about it. But anyway, so we met junior year, and then it was, I'm sorry, sophomore year. Then junior year is when I decided to become Catholic. Okay. I do want to tell that story a little bit. [00:10:55] Speaker B: Well, like when you found out my junior year, I was struggling with things. [00:11:01] Speaker A: So we're just friends, though at this. [00:11:02] Speaker B: Point, we were friends, and Eric came and told me and some other friends that he was becoming Catholic. And he was a very staunch Protestant when I met him. And so I knew it was a huge deal for him to become Catholic. And his becoming Catholic really made me stop and think about what I was taking for granted, and that was a good influence. [00:11:27] Speaker A: It's funny because people often ask, did you become Catholic because of your wife? Like a lot of people, the Protestant, they're dating a Catholic, or they're even married Catholic, and they become Catholic. And that's great. That's how God uses the relationship to get them into the church. But ours is funny because we helped each other because we were just friends, my disciples and catholic. But you, along with the other Catholics in the pro life group, were influential to me that, wow, here are these Christians who are also Catholics who are doing things about their faith, I. E. Being very involved with pro life work. And so, of course, my roommate Nate and other Catholics. And you were influential in kind of making Catholicism something attractive. [00:12:12] Speaker B: When was demon night? [00:12:14] Speaker A: Demon night? Oh, yeah. So I think I've told the story on the podcast. [00:12:18] Speaker B: Really? [00:12:18] Speaker A: Maybe I might have. So, demon night was the night we would go every Friday night to a local abortion clinic, and we would pray. And one year in January, so it was right around the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, so more people, more pro aborts, cops were out. We're all there at the abortion clinic, praying until it closes at 06:00 p.m. On a Friday. Then the cops leave because they're closed down. But some of us, pro lifer stayed, and some of the pro aborts stayed. And as we are praying, we're praying the rosary because the cops are gone, and there's no media there. There's nobody really there. The proborts, they start kind of encircling us, walking, and they start chanting things like, kill the Christians, feed them, bring back the lions. I can't remember exactly something about bring back the lions for the Coliseum from roman times. So it's getting real on demonic. And again, I'm not Catholic at this point, and I'm the only non Catholic left, too, because in the pro lifers. So all the Catholics, like, praying the rosary and stuff like that. Stations, I don't know. And I'm, like, fiddling. I don't know. Looking at Bible, I'm not sure what I was doing, and. But I remember looking at one of the pro boards in the eye, and I'm to this day convinced that person was possessed. I mean, I don't say that lightly, but they clearly were. So they're chained. At one point, I look up, and Suzanne was kneeling, praying the rosary, and one of these proborts, some dude is, like, standing over her, like, yelling at her, saying blasphemies. Most of the stuff they were saying, I'm never going to repeat what they were saying. It was blasphemous. And he's doing this to her, and I see her, and she's praying the rosary, completely oblivious to this very peaceful looking. And I remember that was a big deal to me. That would have been the month before I decided to convert, because that would have been January. I converted in February of that year. So this has been 92. And so I remember just seeing that and thinking, there's some power in this rosary thing. There's something about it that is because I'm anxious at this point because these demon possessed people around. Like I said, I made a joke about it, but I literally was kind of, like, not sure what to do. And as a Protestant, I mean, I could pray, of course. Maybe spontaneous prayer or something, like, wasn't really. I was anxious, but here's Suzanne just praying the rosary peacefully while the demons are surrounding us. And I thought, wow, that's pretty. [00:14:53] Speaker B: Was. Yes, that was our junior year, I think. And what I remember is that I didn't physically have a rosary with me at this time. I wasn't super practicing the faith, but in that moment when this intense situation is happening, that obviously we're surrounded by a lot of evil. I remember that guy. He had blonde, short, kind of highlighted hair. He had Tony earrings. Anyway, my instinct was to go down on my knees and start praying the rosary. It didn't matter that I wasn't holding one. That was just the instinct. And I think we started out talking about being a cradle Catholic. What a blessing just to have those things in your heart that just stay with you and come back at the right time and then deepen. [00:15:42] Speaker A: Yes. So we'll skip through some of this. But then we did start dating. So I decided to become Catholic in February 92. We started dating in December of 92. December ish, we'll say. And then I came into church in April of 93. And then we ended up getting married in May of 95. Oh, don't even look. You know, I remember, you know, I remember these things. So we got married in May, and we got married in the same church where I was confirmed, received my first Lloyd communion. So that was really cool. Okay, so then we get married. And at that point, then I'm trying to remember when we first started having our first child was born a year and a half after we were married. What did we do for when in our married Life? Because as the cradle Catholic, I didn't know the practice. Okay. So I think most people here know we co wrote the Jesse book. Tree. [00:16:47] Speaker B: The Jesse tree book. [00:16:49] Speaker A: Jesse tree book. That too. The Jesse tree book. See, I get nervous now. I'm more nervous because I got to impress my lady. [00:16:57] Speaker B: Yeah. Because I don't usually watch. This is the first one I'm seeing. [00:17:03] Speaker A: That's not true. You've watched at least one or two. So we wrote the Jesse Tree book, and that was based upon our own practice of the Jesse tree devotion during advent over the years. But you introduced that, of course, in the family, because I didn't know any of these devotions I had some exposure to some catholic families, but really what it was meant to be live as a Catholic, you had that. And so I can't even remember now. What did we first started doing in Lent, especially once our kids started getting a little bit older that they could kind of participate in it? [00:17:39] Speaker B: Yes, well, I think that Lent is always more of a challenge for families to observe in the home. And the Jesse tree lends itself to the home. And I think that's why it's experiencing kind of a resurgence, that devotion. A lot of people are taking it up, bringing it into their home for Lent. I think at first we were very parish focused. What our parish did, we did. So if the parish had an evening of recollection, we would do it. [00:18:12] Speaker A: I remember the soup and something. [00:18:14] Speaker B: Yeah, soup dinners, of course, the Friday stations of the cross. I've just always loved going to that. I think it's really important to do it as a community and to do it in procession. There's an indulgence attached to that under the usual conditions. So that's definitely something we always did. Then I started trying to do more tangible things. We have the crown, either with bread dough or some kind of wreath. All the little toothpicks in there. When you make a sacrifice, kids, you get to take out one of the thorns from Christ's crown and put it in this little bowl. And then let's see what happens on Easter. They're going to turn into jelly. Yeah. Or you have a jar of beans, like black beans, and when you make a sacrifice, you take one of those out. Some people, they turn into jelly beans. Or one year when I felt like there was too much sugar in the house, they turned into flowers, and that did not go over at all. Just trying to bring more tangible things into the home. I think we kind of increased that over the years. The kids have always loved the advent wreath. So for Lent, we would do like six candles formed like a cross. So you've got the six weeks of Lent and just light one at a time or light them all, whichever. So a few things like that, for sure. [00:19:41] Speaker A: Okay, now, and one more thing. [00:19:44] Speaker B: I think this is a really good one. We always have each family member write down their light and promises, and I always tell the kids that we should all have promises we do as a family. So something we're all doing together, promises we do on our own, and then that we can tell the rest of the family, hey, I am giving up chocolate, and then have one of your promises be something that only you and God know. And write them all down. And then every few weeks, I'll have the kids go to their secret place where they've put their written down promises and look at that to make sure they remember what they're supposed to be doing and are actually doing it. But I love the idea personally, of having one thing they're doing that is just between them and God, because just to help promote that idea that our relationship and these things we're doing really are all for God. [00:20:41] Speaker A: So I want to change tracks a little bit here. So, obviously, people know I've written some books before, and now we co wrote the book, the Jesse Tree book. Is that correct? That time. And now this is your first solo book. And what's interesting, what people might not know, is you're really the writer in the family. I'm the fake. I'm the pseudo. I got to tell a story. Okay. First of all, when I first decided to write a book, this was in 2008, I think something like that. I restarted back on my master's in theology to finish it. So I was very inspired kind of thinking about theology because I've been a computer programmer for a while. And then I decided to write this book. So I literally didn't tell Suzanne, and I handwrote it. This is how long ago this was. Do you remember that? Yeah, I think I have that somewhere that's, like, in a box somewhere. The handwritten notes, which would be hilarious to look the. And I wrote the entire book. This is the book that is. Now who do you say I am? Which I don't have a copy close by to show you, but anyway, buy it. So it was reflections on the Gospel of Matthew. And so I wrote the whole thing. And I remember I started it in, like, may, and I finished it in July, and then without telling Suzanne, because you were on a trip with the kids out of town for, like, a week without me. And so I spent a lot of time doing it then. So then I tell you, I was very nervous about telling you. And I remember first you were like, well, that's pretty big deal. That's hard to do. And I think you were trying to drop my expectations. [00:22:19] Speaker B: Oh, you mean when you told me you wanted to publish it, right? [00:22:22] Speaker A: Yeah, when I said, I want to maybe see about getting it published. Now, remember, at this point, I'm a computer programmer. I have no connections, really, in the catholic world. I didn't have a blog or anything like that, which would be the thing back then. And then that's when you tried to set my expectations, like, that's really hard to do. Then I showed you the book, and you looked at it, and you said, it's going to be even harder. No, you didn't actually say that. Actually, she said that in the nice, wife, diplomatic way, which was, okay, this needs a lot of work, basically. But she became my editor at that point and has been my editor ever since. She's the best writer in the family, for sure. So my question, my rambling around there to get the point is, my question is, how did you get first interested in writing? Because you've been really big on that with the kids and teaching them English and grammar and all that stuff, and you crack my grammar all the time. My question is, what is kind of your history of writing and getting involved in it? [00:23:30] Speaker B: I have loved writing since I was a kid. And actually, that same sister that told me we would get rid of the communion rails, she told me that I was a very good writer, and I thought, well, that's nice, but really, everybody can do that. Everybody can learn to do that. It's kind of the honors English kind of track in high school, took honors English in college, even, and had professors tell me I was a good writer, but I was a russian major. I just love words, love languages. And maybe I think I might have vaguely thought about majoring in something to do with writing, but I thought, well, I don't want to be a journalist. Being a creative writing major sounds kind of lame. So I never went in that direction. But right after college, worked for a publishing company, and it was a very small company, and so everybody pitched in on things, and I started proofreading, and I found out I was really good at proofreading. So that led to editing, and, of course, I still enjoyed writing like I always had. So just slowly, I kind of acquired more opportunities to do some editing and do some writing. Even though my primary vocation of wife and mother and homeschool teacher takes the vast majority of my time, I've always been able to find time to write. [00:25:06] Speaker A: Really. I'm the editor in chief of crisis, so that's literally my job. But Suzanne is the best editor I know. And I don't just say that. She's been editing my stuff for, oh, man, more than 15 years now. [00:25:21] Speaker B: Well, I edited your grad school. [00:25:24] Speaker A: Oh, that's true. Even before that. Oh, yeah, before we even married. I forgot about that. That's right. Before we were married, I started the grad program at Studentville theology. And so I had been a computer major. Very little writing. You have to do as a systems analysis major. And so this was my really first foray into real writing because I had to write a lot of papers. And. That's right, you were editing them, which was great and helped me to do fine in school. [00:25:50] Speaker B: I actually published two articles at crisis before you were there. [00:25:55] Speaker A: Oh, yeah. Was it just two? [00:25:57] Speaker B: I think so. [00:25:57] Speaker A: Okay. Yeah. And you published other places, too. Yeah. So editing. But what's funny is she's a very good editor because she tells you if something's not good, you can't be too nice as an editor. You have to be blunt at times. And, boy, that red ink. And so what happens is you sometimes do. Okay, maybe not. It feels like red ink. How's that? So when the kids get old enough that mom has to edit their works, I usually give them a little talk of, don't take it personally. [00:26:35] Speaker B: Okay. You know what's great? My kids will open a book or a magazine, and they will find the typos. [00:26:44] Speaker A: Yeah. No, our 14 year old, I think, isn't she like. I mean, she can edit. She will pick things out. They all good, but, like, oh, man, they just picked things. Don't want to. You don't want to cross them. Okay. So editing and writing. So we did the Jesse tree book, and that we did together. [00:27:09] Speaker B: And that one was very organic development. It was very different than this book because we had been praying and using the Jesse tree devotion in our home for years and had this little booklet to go with it from the, like, a felt banner and never liked it. And the first two meditations were okay. And then they would get a little loopy. The one about Elijah and the raven is the main one. I remember it was like an environmentalist, I don't know. So Eric, when he got to these meditations that weren't very good, he would just extemporaneously start talking about what they really should have been talking about. And I kept saying, we really need to write this down so every year you don't have to kind of reinvent this wheel again. And we never did, because that's how it is. And then one year, I made Jesse tree ornaments for two of our godchildren. And I said, we cannot give them this book. We have to give them a real Jesse tree books. Let's just go ahead and write it. And then our family can use it, too. And then when they loved it so much, I guess we thought, well, let's just self publish it, then lots of families can use it. [00:28:23] Speaker A: Yes. So that was about ten years ago, almost at this point. Now, it was a word document processed, right? Yeah, because it was a word document that first time. And so we just gave it some friends, like you said, first parents of our godchildren and then some other people kind of found out about in our parish, we gave it some other people, and then we self published it, I think in 17 maybe. I think 2017, we self published it, and it sold very well. But then Sophia Institute picked it up, a new edition a couple of years, I guess it was two advents ago, and it was very changed from the first edition. Like basically after the first edition, we did realize the self published edition, we found some errors, but also we kind of felt like, okay, we can really improve this. But it really was. And I felt like the Sophia published edition, we really did kind of rewrite it and kind of took tasks like you rewrote the main section, and then I rewrote for further reflection parts. And so it really was kind of a combined effort then. So tell us then about the evolution of how, because there's a connection between that Jesse Tree book and this book. And so kind of say, how did this book end up coming to be? [00:29:38] Speaker B: Yes. So for years, even before we wrote the Jesse Tree book, just as a mom, I would talk to other moms about how we wish there were more things to do in the home for Lent, kind of like what you were asking about. We wish there was something like the Jesse tree, but for Lent, and I looked online to see what was out there, and there are some things that are like the Jesse tree, but for Lent, bunches of ornaments that you can, because that's what we kind of associate the Jesse tree with. Like, let's take the ornament. Each kid can take a turn putting it on the tree. So some people have created things like that, but I felt like all of those things were very fragmented. So Lent is a lot longer than advent, of course. So instead of maybe 28 different scripture verses, you're going to have 46 or 44 to cover every day of Lent, including Sundays. So they just didn't hang together. The Jesse tree hangs together because it starts with Adam and Eve and it walks through salvation history to the birth of Christ. So you really feel that progression. But to do that for Lent, I was trying to figure out a matrix of some kind, and I had a couple of ideas, but then the stations of the cross, I felt like, were perfect. It's the oldest Lenten devotion in the church. And just as a Catholic, I think our reflex is or should be what's already here, what's already been done. That is beautiful, that I can uncover or maybe represent. And so when I hit on the idea of using the stations of the cross as the matrix for the book, I really just fell in love with that idea for those reasons. But Lent is long, so how do you use 14 stations for the entirety of Lent? That's when I got the idea to slow down the devotion and study one station for three or four days and use that as an opportunity to really dig into each one. [00:31:48] Speaker A: Yes. So what's the breakdown, then? So you start this on Ash Wednesday and you ended, I assume, on Holy Saturday, is that right? [00:31:58] Speaker B: Yes. You end the stations on Holy Saturday. There is a meditation for Easter, but obviously the resurrection is not a station. [00:32:05] Speaker A: Right. Okay, so basically what happens then? You go in and you have the book and so on. For Ash Wednesday, there is an entry. And so what does it do, like, starting with Ash Wednesday? That's just the first station then. [00:32:21] Speaker B: Yes. So the first station of the cross, Jesus is condemned to death, is what we would start with on Ash Wednesday. And then on the Thursday after Ash Wednesday, the Friday and the Saturday, we're still studying Jesus is condemned to death. So each day starts out with the traditional prayers for the stations of the cross. We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you because by your holy cross, you've redeemed the world. They're presented in English and Latin, so you can choose whichever works better in your home. Following that, there's a description of the station, and that comes always from either St. Francis of Assisi, St. John Newman. St. John Henry Newman. Yes, St. Francis. Did I say St. Francis? Yeah, I went out of order, so I'm excited. Yeah, I was getting there. St. Alfonsus and St. Jose Maria. So there's four sets of stations of the cross written by saints, and that's where this description is going to come from every time. That's where some of the prayers come from. But following that description, there's a Bible passage, scripture passage, that refers to the station. So in some cases, it's the scripture passage where the station takes place. We can read in scripture where Jesus is condemned to death. Then we have a meditation. And the material for the meditation comes is based on the writings of the fathers. What did the fathers say about when Jesus was condemned to death? Following in the meditation is something you can read out loud as a family and discuss. And there's a prayer from one of those four saints, and then the points for further reflection. So if you have older children, if you're doing this on your own, as an adult, you can kind of dive deeper in with those points. So that would just be one day. So, for instance, Ash Wednesday. But then on Thursday, we start with the prayers again, the station's prayers, the description of the station from another one of the four saints, and a different scripture passage. So if we've already presented perhaps, like, let's say, the fifth station of the cross, Simon of Cyrene helps our lord carry his cross on the first day. We've already seen that in the Gospels, right? So on the second day, the scripture passage is going to be from where Christ in the gospels talks about carrying your cross. On the third day, the scripture passage will be from St. Paul, perhaps talking about carrying the cross or making up for the sufferings that are lacking in the suffering of Christ. So every day we can kind of access, like a different facet of the station through the scriptures and through the church fathers. [00:35:04] Speaker A: So basically, you take three or four days to meditate on a single station, and that takes you then through lent. Now, I know, of course, that you've had a devotion to the stations for as long as I've known you, obviously. But why do you love the station so much? And why is it something that really resonates with you? [00:35:28] Speaker B: I think it's because to me, it's a summary of the christian life. And because it's so rich, the stations of the cross, I have found that year by year, many times. There's one station that in that year that lent really strikes me, really comes home to me. And I tend to then carry that in my heart through that lent, sometimes through the year, sometimes beyond. There's just one line in the stations of St. Alfonso Slugori that a few years ago really struck me, and I've just carried it with me. And I think that the stations have that power because they are at this time that's approaching the very climax of Christ's work. So to me, another thing I love is that it's scripture and tradition together. So we can find a lot of these events in scripture. But then we have, for instance, St. Veronica from tradition. We have our lord meeting his mother from tradition. So it's a beautiful, I think, a very catholic practice for that reason too. [00:36:49] Speaker A: One of the things that was so beautiful about the passion of the know, Mel Gibson's movie is that he purposely, basically made sure the stations were in there and often represented as they are represented in famous works. Of mean, I'm particularly thinking of when Jesus meets his. I mean, just such a beautiful scene there. Also, when he meets I, that was very powerful to me. The passion of the. It's structured often. I mean, it starts with the agony in the garden. That's how the movie starts. And so it just shows kind of the power of the stations that it invokes in us, this meditation on there. I also think that you really love the stations because your dad and he was very connected. I know. [00:37:46] Speaker B: The connection with my dad, I think, is a big part of it in my memories of my childhood. And my father, actually, when he prayed the rosary, he always prayed the sorrowful mysteries. He did not pray the joyful mysteries. He didn't pray the glorious mysteries. And I would ask him why, and he said, well, it helps me focus. He just loves the passion. [00:38:12] Speaker A: Yeah, he would have been a great medieval Christian because that was a big focus bank. Of course. Do you know the history of the stations? Like, when did they first. I actually don't know this. Do you know? [00:38:25] Speaker B: So the stations of the cross are probably, I believe, the oldest devotion in the church. You guys can correct me, but they sprung up almost immediately because people went to Jerusalem and wanted to see where did Jesus Christ walk? And the people, the Christians that were still there, or just not necessarily even Christians, the people that lived there, would. Oh, yeah, Jesus. So this is where he was condemned. And so then he went this way and this know, it makes sense that people did that. Right? And so eventually, of course, it became much more difficult for christians of Western Europe to get to the holy land, but they still wanted to have that experience of walking the way with the Lord. And so then they would create avia Dolorosa in the towns of western Europe. And this originally was just roman numerals. Didn't originally have images. Usually. Eventually images were added, like, okay, we see that. It would be even better for everybody to have something to meditate on visually. And then eventually, too, the particular prayers were added, the genuflections were added. So this became a whole body experience. I mean, it's perfect. So catholic, so incarnational. We've got our bodies involved, our vision, we're hearing it, we're imagining it's just perfect. [00:39:45] Speaker A: And I believe every catholic church is basically required to have a station across event. [00:39:50] Speaker B: I think that might be true, yeah. [00:39:53] Speaker A: I'm sure somebody in the comments at some point will tell us if it's not, but I'm pretty sure. [00:40:00] Speaker B: The roman numeral. Well, I don't know that it has to be a roman numeral, but it seems like it always is. And then the a cross is what's required for it to be a station. Doesn't have to have an image to be a station. So you could go in your woods and carve a little roman numeral one and a cross, and you could make stations at the cross. [00:40:21] Speaker A: She brings this up because this is our plan. [00:40:22] Speaker B: I want to make stations across. [00:40:24] Speaker A: We're very fortunate that we have some wooded area in our yard, and it's actually seven and a half acres of woods, and we have already a path, like a loop path in our woods. And so our dream is to set up the stations across in the woods so we can actually do it ourselves. The problem is she married somebody who's extremely unhandy, and so I haven't gotten around. [00:40:52] Speaker B: This is happening in the next few weeks, so dream makes it sound like future. I bought the stations. [00:40:59] Speaker A: Wait, what? [00:41:00] Speaker B: I bought the stations. They're outdoor stations. They're like. [00:41:03] Speaker A: When did you buy them? [00:41:05] Speaker B: Like six or eight months ago. [00:41:07] Speaker A: Oh, that's right. Did you actually buy them? Do we have them? [00:41:10] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:41:10] Speaker A: Where are they? [00:41:12] Speaker B: They're under Anna's bed. [00:41:14] Speaker A: Okay. [00:41:14] Speaker B: Do we have to do this? [00:41:17] Speaker A: I guess I know what I'm doing here pretty soon, so I guess we'll set those up. Okay. This is awesome. It is a dream. A dream come true. [00:41:24] Speaker B: If you can do this. Hey, do you have 14 trees? You can probably do this. And then during lit, have some families over, have a simple soup dinner, maybe a Thursday night, if you fast on Friday, Thursday evening, simple soup dinner. Pray the stations together. I think it would be a beautiful thing. [00:41:40] Speaker A: And you can even start, like you said, you could start by just having the numbers, like the roman numeral and very simple. You could literally almost carve it into some trees and go around, and maybe later you'll add to it. I forgot that we got those. [00:41:56] Speaker B: Right. And it's easy to print out the stations from St. Alfonsus. Just print them out. [00:42:03] Speaker A: I think we usually use the St. Alphonsus, but. Yeah. So what are the four? There's St. Alphonsus, which is the one a lot of. I know a lot of parishes use, and it's particularly more traditional. There's some of the best ones. But you said that St. John Henry Newman, he's one of my favorite saints, and I did not realize until you wrote this book that he actually. So did he do a complete stations across. [00:42:24] Speaker B: And they're beautiful. They're deep. Yes. [00:42:27] Speaker A: Okay. I might do that this year. I might use those some this year. [00:42:30] Speaker B: Yes. I like also St. Jose Maria's stations. I often pray during a holy hour. And I think that's beautiful because it's a different perspective. It's somewhat modern, but not in a bad way. So I think I really like his perspective. And then St. Francis of Assisi would be the. [00:42:50] Speaker A: Does he have full meditations or he just kind of, what do we have? [00:42:56] Speaker B: If you imagine the length of the St. Alfonso stations, which they're not lengthy, St. Francis are probably similar. [00:43:06] Speaker A: Okay. [00:43:06] Speaker B: They're not lengthy. [00:43:07] Speaker A: Okay. And one day, maybe hundreds of years in the future, St. Suzanne Salmon's will have her stations of the cross as well. [00:43:16] Speaker B: But this is not a book that you would take to stations of the cross and pray the stations of the cross in procession with your parish. [00:43:22] Speaker A: Right. [00:43:23] Speaker B: This is a book that hopefully will make that experience more powerful for you. [00:43:30] Speaker A: Now, I know when we kind of marketed the Jesse tree book, we talked a lot about it being for families. That was a big part of it. And so would you say this book is also something for families or more for adults? I mean, kind of who can use. [00:43:49] Speaker B: Was because people had asked for something like the Jesse tree book, which really is a family devotion. I think. I think the better way to say it is it's for the home, because our homes, our domestic churches, they're all different. If you're an empty nester, does that mean you can't do the Jesse tree? No, I think we'll still be doing it. If we ever are empty nesters, I think we'll still be doing the Jesse tree. So it's for the home. Whatever your home looks like, is it accessible for children? Yes. Dad can read this meditation out loud if he needs to slow it down a little bit or ask some questions to make sure the kids are following, fine. But it's not too long to read to children. It is geared in some sense. I was very cognizant that children would be hearing these meditations. I guess that's the way to put it. But the people that reviewed the book, a few of them have made a very particular point of saying this is not just for children. So I was glad for that. It makes it more flexible, more useful. [00:44:54] Speaker A: For realized St. Francis. Assisi had a stage of the cross, and he's one of my favorite saints. And behind us, right here, for those who are watching, not just listening, is one of my favorite statues. It's actually our Lord on the cross. And St. Francis is embracing him, kind of representing how St. Francis embraced the cross in his own life. And obviously the stigmata that he, you know, mentioning him in there as well is good. Okay. We're going to wrap it up here soon. But I did want to know. Suzanne's been doing kind of the interview circuit some. And I'm sure maybe everybody's asked this, but maybe they haven't. But which of the stations is your favorite station and why? I think I know the answer. We're going to find out if I'm right. [00:45:39] Speaker B: Well, I'm going to edit your question. A little strange to say. What's your favorite station? [00:45:48] Speaker A: Always be editing. [00:45:52] Speaker B: And two, it's like when people are like, who's your favorite? Count Mary? You have to say, like, the crucifixion kind of has to be your favorite. So I'll change that question to be sort of like, what's the most powerful for me or my person? [00:46:14] Speaker A: Impactful. [00:46:15] Speaker B: Impactful, maybe. Yeah. So it would be. Veronica White is the face of our. Yeah. Yeah. When the passion of the Christ came out, I was almost nervous. What if he messes up, Veronica? Because that would just kill me. But I loved that scene. I loved it. And the reason I love Veronica is actually, I've loved Veronica since I was a child. And so it started out just like, wouldn't it be so beautiful if you could do something nice for Jesus while he's suffering? Gosh, I wish I could be Veronica. I wish I could have done that. That's so neat. I love Jesus. But then as I got older and started thinking about it more, I thought, you know, Veronica as a woman, loved Jesus as a woman. So the compassion she gave him was very feminine. It was very maternal, which I think Mel Gibson caught very well. [00:47:20] Speaker A: Yeah, that is a beautiful love. I think it was St. John Henry Newman, wasn't it? You got to tell. I mean, it's kind of a spoiler, but it's much more in the book, but about Veronica and Simon of Cyrene. [00:47:37] Speaker B: So St. John Henry Newman I love saw. [00:47:41] Speaker A: I did not know this until Suzanne found it and wrote about it. And it's from John Henry Newman I love. And I just like, wow, this is so awesome. [00:47:48] Speaker B: Okay. [00:47:49] Speaker A: I hyped it up. I know. [00:47:50] Speaker B: Now you oversold. St. John Henry Newman. He saw the fourth, fifth, and 6th stations is really hanging together. So in the fourth station of the cross, Christ meets our lady. And St. John Henry Newman said, of course, what else would our lady do besides pray for her? Would. Of course she would pray for her son. In this situation, any mother would pray for help for her son. There was only so much she could know. He's moving on. So then Mary would be praying. What happens when Mary prays? He gets help. And how does this help come to him? It comes in the form of a man and a woman. And not only that, but the man, Simon, he helps in the way a man helps. His love is the love of a man. He works, he uses his body. That's how his compassion is acted out. And then the woman who is sent, she uses her maternal love, her compassion. She's very courageous. But her courage doesn't come from self confidence. It doesn't come from her. I don't know. I work out every day. I'm strong. I can take these guys. The modern way of a woman being brave, right? It comes from the authentic way of a woman being courageous, which is motivated by love. My courage comes from love. And that's why one of the things I loved about Mel Gibson's scene is that she is so focused on Christ and his need. That's why she can make this courageous act. But St. John Henry Newman's point was that not know, look at the power of Mary, okay? She prays for help for our Lord, and God says, of course, here's everything I made. Man and woman. Here they are. I made them to love in these two ways. So they're going to do it. Simon does. Veronica does. [00:49:53] Speaker A: Yeah. I just love that. I never heard that, never saw that. I didn't know St. John Henry Newman even had a station to the cross devotion that he had written. And so I thought that was a great part of the book that you bring out. Okay, so the book is stations to the cross in slow motion. A daily devotion for Lent from Sophie and sue press. I will put a link in the show notes to it. You should be able, when this comes out, you should have time to be able to buy it and get it in time for lint. Lint starts this year on Valentine's Day. Actually is Ash Wednesday this year, so make sure you're ready for it. We're in SEPTa Jessmo season right now. Is there anything else we want to mention about the book or about how great is to be married to me or anything like that? [00:50:38] Speaker B: Nothing comes to mind. [00:50:40] Speaker A: I set myself up for that one. Okay, everybody, until next time. God love Samuel.

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